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International Coffee Day: Rituals and Celebrations Around the World



Coffee is more than just a drink, it’s an experience. Around the globe, different countries and different cultures enjoy coffee in different ways. From elaborate ceremonies to tricky taboos, coffee can be an excellent conduit to experience different global cultures. To celebrate International Coffee Day, here are some unique coffee rituals and traditions from different parts of the world.


Perhaps more than anywhere else on Earth, in Ethiopia coffee is an event. An Ethiopian coffee ceremony is a ritual that can take as long as two hours — with coffee as the star of the show. Ethiopia has some bragging rights to coffee as it’s widely considered the birthplace of this beloved beverage.

The ceremony starts with the roasting of raw beans over an open flame — usually performed by the youngest woman of the household. Guests are often offered snacks during this phase and encourage to interact. At the core, the Ethiopian coffee ceremony is meant to connect participants in conversation.

After the beans are ground super fine by hand, they go into the jebena, a clay pot with slender pouring spout, to brew. The coffee usually goes through three different brews, with each participant receiving a cup of each brew. The first is the Abol (the strongest and most important), second is the Tona (little more water), and the last is the Baraka. Each stage has significance attributed to the occasion — addressing a conflict in the Abol and finding a resolution in the Baraka, for example.

The drawn-out nature of the process encourages participants to slow down and enjoy life — while the coffee keeps coming.


Coffee is so deeply rooted into the Italian culture the country has developed some deeply rooted rules and taboos to follow. When consuming coffee in this beautiful mediterranean country, be careful not to accidentally perform a faux pa in one of the many fantastic bistros.

Italians have built their eating and drinking traditions around certain ideas about digestion. The pre-dinner drink, for example, is thought to warm up the digestive system to receive heartier items in a meal.

For this reason, it has become a taboo to order a cappuccino — frothy milk and coffee — after the morning. Order up a cappuccino after 11 am in Italy and there’s a good chance an Italian will shake their head in scorn — feeling sorry for your digestive system. The heavy milk is believed to be hard for your body to digest — and therefore should be consumed in the morning to process throughout the day.

Coffee is also meant to be an experienced in cafes in Italy — not in a foam to-go cup. (You will actually not find a single Starbucks in Rome for example.) Native Italians tend to go for their own version of the to-go coffee, a shot of espresso enjoyed while standing up at the counter or bar.


Coffee in Turkey is, like in Ethiopia, a reason for a celebration. In social gatherings, the Turkish people often hand grind their coffee and mixed with cold water in sugar. Traditionally, Turkish coffee is boiled and brewed in a cezve, a pot made of copper or brass.

This handmade coffee is similar to many other traditions, but the people of Turkey take coffee grounds to another level. As the grounds settle, they are saved and used to tell fortunes of the coffee drinkers. While the fortune telling is often just for fun, many do take it seriously when it comes to matters of choosing a partner or other big life events.

How will you be celebrating International Coffee Day? Do you have your own cultural, family, or personal tradition?

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Happy Autumn!

Alexandra McAllister


**Post shared from Organo Blog